|Tokyo, April 13, 1998 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced that its manufacturing plants around the world are taking more concerted action to lessen the ultimate impact their operations have on the environment.
Honda has long treated care for the environment as one of its most important
corporate issues, and has put in place a full program of activities designed to
lower the environmental impact of the company's operations. The current initiative
involves taking renewed corporate responsibility for the whole of a product's
life cycle through so-called life cycle assessments. The aim of the program is
to use these assessments to enable Honda to take an integrated approach toward
managing product life cycles in an earth-friendly manner.
The initial target, set for completion by 2001, is to reduce waste materials
and pollutants to zero, as well as drastically reducing the amount of energy consumption
associated with carbon dioxide emissions. The technology will first be developed
in Japan before being adopted by Honda's overseas manufacturing bases. The name
Green Factory has been given by the company to the type of operations that Honda
wants to create.
The initiative has four main aspects, described below.
(1) Complete acquisition of ISO 14001 certification at all domestic manufacturing
ISO 14001 is the internationally approved standard for environmental management
systems. All six of Honda's domestic manufacturing sites have now received certification
- the last one being the Hamamatsu factory in March 1998.
From the point of view of product quality and costs, this achievement underscores
Honda's commitment to continuous across-the-board improvement of all of its environmental
Work to gain the same certification is now well advanced at all of Honda's
major manufacturing bases in North America, Europe and the rest of Asia. The process
should be complete by March 1999.
(2) Reducing waste materials and pollutants to zero
In 1997, Honda's manufacturing activities produced a total of 187,000 tons of
waste materials. Of this, the portion that was then recycled amounted to 89% of
the total. A further 8% was incinerated at company facilities. The final amount
of waste materials sent for disposal outside the company came to approximately
3% of the total.
Reducing this proportion of final external waste has been done by increasing
the yields on production processes from raw materials, by reusing materials within
the process, and by aiming to raise the overall efficiency of manufacturing. Together
these measures have resulted in a more than 80% reduction in the amount of final
waste generated - down from an annual figure of 26,300 tons in 1990 to just 4,900
tons in 1997.
Honda plans to eliminate this final waste altogether by 2001, again through
a variety of measures, including using compound plastic strips as raw materials,
and recycling waste such as paint scraps into floor mat tape sheets, or casting
sand into materials for roadbeds.
To deal with water or air pollutants, Honda's basic policy is to avoid generating
them in the first place. This involves employing measures such as using high-quality
combustion materials, making alterations to manufacturing processes, and modifying
or installing new incineration equipment. As an example of this integrated approach,
Honda's Suzuka Factory recently began operating a new kind of incinerator that
greatly reduces dioxin formation. One of the most poisonous and carcinogenic waste
substances produced during incineration processes, dioxins are now subject to
strict regulations worldwide.
(3) Energy used per unit of sales at world-beating levels
By introducing manufacturing technology that reduces energy losses, and by rigorously
managing the use of energy in manufacturing processes, Honda has made its use
of energy much more efficient. In terms of energy consumption in relation to sales,
6.4% less energy was consumed in 1997 versus 1990. The current aim is to extract
further savings by integrating manufacturing and development processes to a greater
degree, by boosting production efficiency, and by introducing new technology such
as co-generation power systems into manufacturing facilities. The target is to
reduce the amount of energy used per unit of sales from the figure achieved in
1990 by 15% before 2001, and then to make a further 15% improvement on top of
this by 2010 - all by employing new production technology and different concepts.
The ultimate aim is to make manufacturing operations as clean and efficient as
(4) Improving local and labor environments at factories
The company regularly undertakes internal environmental audits and publishes the
results of these investigations to demonstrate what the company is doing to prevent
pollution and help the environment. From 1994, Honda has tried to enhance the
effectiveness of these audits by conducting intra-company audits of all Honda
sites based on a standard established by visiting other Honda sites.
Since 1976, Honda has conducted a program of planting trees native to the
local area around manufacturing sites and other offices. To date a total area
of 335,000 m2 has been planted with trees, representing a total of
over 550,000 trees. These trees help the local environment in many ways - not
only absorbing carbon dioxide, but also cleaning the air and helping to eliminate
Honda's environmental management systems, allied to moves to reduce pollutant
production at all of the company's manufacturing sites to zero levels and reduce
carbon dioxide emissions through higher energy efficiency, are helping to reduce
the impact the company's operations have on the environment. At the same time,
Honda tries to make its production facilities blend in with their local surroundings,
and strives to make the labor environment as pleasant as possible.
(1) ISO 14001 certifications: achieved and planned
Manufacturing sites with ISO 14001 certification:
Domestic plants (6 sites)
Overseas plants (3 sites)
|Power Products Plant, Hamamatsu Factory:
||Honda Belgium N.V.:
||Honda of the U.K. Manufacturing Ltd.:
|Honda Engineering Co., Ltd:
||Honda Europe N.V. (Belgium):